Archive for May 8, 2017

Erdogan will not “allow Muslim prayers silenced in Jerusalem”

May 8, 2017

Erdogan will not “allow Muslim prayers silenced in Jerusalem”  DEBKAfile, May 8, 2017

(Turkish Dictator President Erdogan and President Trump should have an interesting meeting next week. — DM)

Turkish President Reccep Erdogan talking to the International Forum on Jerusalem in Istanbul Monday, referred to the draft bills before the Knesset, banning amplified overnight calls to prayers from mosque loudspeakers in residential areas. He called the bill “shameful” and declared “we will not allow the silence of prayers form the heavens of Jerusalem.”  Erdogan also said that the discussions about the US moving its embassy to Jerusalem are extremely wrong. “We made the necessary warnings on this issue at the highest level and we are continuing to do so.”

Palestinians: Abbas’s “Culture of Peace”

May 8, 2017

Palestinians: Abbas’s “Culture of Peace”, Gatestone InstituteBassam Tawil, May 8, 2017

(Please see also, Palestinian Daily ‘Al-Ayyam’ Reports On ‘Abbas’s White House Visit. — DM)

Thanks to Abbas’s falsehoods, his media continues to this day dishonestly to talk about “Jewish invaders and settlers storming” Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. This and this alone is the source of the knife and car-ramming attacks against Israelis.

Perhaps by a “culture of peace” Abbas means calling — as he and his top officials regularly do — Israel an apartheid and racist state. Or maybe “culture of peace” means calling all Jews “occupiers” and “colonists” — or denouncing and threatening Palestinian children who play soccer with Israeli kids. Or naming schools and electoral lists after convicted murderers?

Under Abbas, anti-Israel incitement and indoctrination is a business that has expanded exponentially. It has, in fact, grown to the point that a new generation has been raised on the glorification of jihadists — a generation impatient to draw yet more Jewish blood. If this is Abbas’s “culture of peace,” one has to wonder what he would consider a culture of war?

Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas may soon be known for his sense of humor. Like many Palestinians, Abbas believes that Westerners will swallow his lies wholesale. Abbas, for instance, ended his May 3 meeting with US President Donald Trump with the following whopper: “We are raising our youth, our children, our grandchildren on a culture of peace.”

Abbas did not provide further details about the “culture of peace” upon which Palestinian children are being raised. Nor did anyone bother to ask Abbas or any member of his entourage to provide examples of the “culture of peace” in Palestinian society. Yet major Western media outlets were quick to publish Abbas’s unmistakable lie.

US President Donald Trump meets with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas in the White House, on May 3, 2017. (Image source: White House video screenshot)

Apparently, like his predecessor, Yasser Arafat, Abbas is convinced that Palestinians can fool “all of the people, all of the time” about their true goals and intentions. Arafat lied to Presidents George W. Bush and Bill Clinton when he told them that he and the Palestinian Authority were promoting peace and coexistence with Israel. Under Arafat, anti-Israel incitement in the Palestinian media, schools and mosques intensified until Palestinians waged the Second Intifada in September 2000. This intifada was the result of seven years of vicious incitement and indoctrination that came after the inception of the PA. In a truly ironic turn of events, the Oslo Accords, signed between Israel and the PLO in 1993, gave the Palestinians media outlets, including television and radio stations, which were then used to amplify hatred against Israel and Jews on a daily basis.

Arafat used these media outlets to tell his people — when then Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon visited the Temple Mount in September 2000 — that Israel was planning to destroy the al-Aqsa Mosque. It was precisely this incitement that triggered the Second Intifada, in which Palestinians wage a massive and ruthless campaign of suicide bombings and drive-by shootings that caused the death of hundreds of Israelis.

Under Arafat, it was anything but a “culture of peace.” His message to the Palestinians was: “We will march towards Jerusalem and we will sacrifice millions of martyrs on the way!”

Unlike many Israelis who were murdered by Palestinians at Arafat’s incitement, Arafat’s famous battle cry is still alive and well. Currently, it is being echoed by many Palestinians, including children, during rallies and demonstrations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip. This call-to-arms openly encourages Palestinian youths to “march towards Jerusalem” and become “martyrs.”

Only one week before the Abbas’s meeting with Trump, the PA president’s Fatah faction called on Palestinians to take to the streets and clash with Israeli soldiers and Jewish settlers. The call was made in “solidarity” with Palestinian prisoners who went on a “hunger strike” in Israeli prisons. The hunger strike was not about Israel’s prisons, well-known for being among the most comfortable in the world; the hunger strike was actually a political move to compete for which terrorist would be Abbas’s successor. The prisoners are terrorists, most of them with blood on their hands; the more blood, the higher the promotion.

In the fight for Palestinian leadership, being a “graduate” of an Israeli prison is far more important than being a graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. The Palestinians’ former prime minister, Salam Fayyad. Fayyad, an economist and reformer adored in the West, received only 2% of the Palestinian vote.

By calling for clashes with Israelis, Fatah is inciting Palestinian youths to carry out violent attacks against Israeli soldiers and settlers. This is the same Fatah led by Abbas — the same Abbas mouthing lies about a “culture of peace.” By voicing solidarity with convicted murderers and praising them as role models and heroes of Palestinians, Abbas’s Fatah pushes Palestinian youths to follow in their footsteps and engage in violence.

One day after the Abbas-Trump meeting, the current Palestinian Authority prime minister, Rami Hamdallah, participated in a rally in Ramallah, in solidarity with the hunger-striking terrorists. At the rally, Hamdallah affirmed the PA’s full support for the terrorists, by saying he was working to bring their case to the attention of the international community.

Like Arafat, Abbas continues to use alleged but non-existent threats the al-Aqsa Mosque to incite Palestinian youths against Israel. For the past 50 years, non-Muslims, including Jews, have been permitted to visit the Temple Mount as tourists. The visits were suspended when the Second Intifada began in 2000. But since the tourist visits resumed a few years ago, the Muslims have been trying to keep Jews away from the holy site. The Muslims claim that Jews are seeking to “destroy” and “desecrate” the al-Aqsa Mosque (on the Temple Mount) — a false claim that is added to the long list of lies and blood libels spread by Abbas and many Muslims. Abbas’s statement came in response not to any incidents at al-Aqsa Mosque, as Abbas and other Palestinians claimed: Tours of Jews to the Temple Mount are routine and peaceful.

In September 2015, Abbas stated that he “welcomed every drop of blood that is spilled in Jerusalem.”

Shortly after this statement, Palestinians began waging a campaign of knife and car-ramming attacks against Israelis, in a violent insurgency known as the “Knife Intifada”. “We will protect Jerusalem and we will not allow them [Jews] to defile al-Aqsa (Mosque) and the Church of the Holy Sepulcher with their filthy feet,” Abbas deceitfully announced.

It is still unclear why he decided to bring the church into the controversy surrounding Jewish visits to the Temple Mount. What is clear is that Abbas was lying: Jews had not entered either the church or al-Aqsa Mosque.

Ever since Abbas’s inciting statement, however, dozens of Palestinian youths have heeded his call by going out to stab or run over the first Jew they see. Their blood is on Abbas’s hands. He is the one who sent out the youths to “protect” al-Aqsa Mosque against the fictitious Jewish “invaders.” He is the one who continues falsely to talk about “herds of settlers storming al-Aqsa Mosque” — in reality, peaceful routine visits by Jews to the Temple Mount. Thanks, however, to Abbas’s falsehoods, his media continues to this day dishonestly to talk about “Jewish invaders and settlers storming” Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem. This and this alone is the source of the knife and car-ramming attacks against Israelis.

This, evidently, is the “culture of peace” to which Abbas is referring. How can he utter such a staggering lie when his media and top officials continue to delegitimize Israel and demonize Jews on a daily basis? How precisely is Abbas promoting peace when his Palestinian Authority names schools and public squares after Palestinian terrorists with Jewish blood on their hands? Earlier this year, for example, Abbas’s Fatah named a youth camp in Jericho after Dalal al-Mughrabi, a female terrorist who killed 38 civilians, 13 of them children, and wounded more than 70, in 1978.

By honoring the murderers of Jews, Abbas is, instead, solely promoting a culture of hate and violence. His message to Palestinian youths is, straightforwardly: the more Jews you kill, the more honor and respect you will receive from your people.

Abbas talks about a “culture of peace” at a time when he and his Palestinian Authority are even combating all forms of “normalization” with Israel. The anti-normalization campaign, in Ramallah and other Palestinian cities, targets any Palestinian who dares to meet with Jews (even “pro-Palestinian” Jews). It operates solely under the auspices of the PA government. This campaign also promotes boycotts, divestment and sanctions against Israel. Its goal is to intimidate Palestinians who work towards peace and coexistence with Israel and to ban any business with Jews. Can any Palestinian invite Jews to a meeting in Ramallah without being targeted by the “anti-normalization” thugs, many of whom are affiliated with Abbas’s Fatah?

Perhaps by a “culture of peace,” Abbas means calling — as he and his top officials regularly do — Israel an apartheid and racist state. Or maybe “culture of peace” means calling all Jews “occupiers” and “colonists” — or denouncing and threatening Palestinian children who play soccer with Israeli kids. Or naming schools and electoral lists after convicted murderers? Those seem like debatable ways to advance his “culture of peace.”

Under Abbas, anti-Israel incitement and indoctrination is a business that has expanded exponentially. It has, in fact, grown to the point that a new generation has been raised on the glorification of jihadists, a generation impatient to draw yet more Jewish blood. If this is Abbas’s “culture of peace,” what, one wonders, would he consider a culture of war?

Dr Sebastian Gorka

May 8, 2017

Palestinian Daily ‘Al-Ayyam’ Reports On ‘Abbas’s White House Visit

May 8, 2017

Palestinian Daily ‘Al-Ayyam’ Reports On ‘Abbas’s White House Visit, MEMRI, May 8, 2017

(Consider the source. Abbas will get what he seeks when he teaches pigs to fly. Whoops. Pigs are haram. Please note the absence of any reference to Palestinian incitement of children and others to commit acts of terror and payment of Palestinian “heroes” in Israeli jails — both of which President Trump has insisted cease. Perhaps more important, were the Palestinian Authority to have elections, Hamas would likely win. The excerpts from the article do not mention Hamas– DM)

On May 7, 2017, the Palestinian daily Al-Ayyam published a detailed article on Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud ‘Abbas’s May 3 visit in Washington, titled “The Secrets and Details of President [‘Abbas’s] Visit and Talks in the U.S. Capital.” The article, by the daily’s U.S. correspondent ‘Abd Al-Rauf Arnaut, described ‘Abbas’s meetings with American officials as relaxed, and the hosts’ reception of ‘Abbas and his delegation as warm and respectful.

The article presented lengthy quotes from ‘Abbas himself about his meeting with Trump. According to ‘Abbas, he clarified to Trump that the Arabs oppose terrorism, no matter its type or its source, and that the Palestinians support a two-state solution rather than a two-state solution. He presented the Arab peace initiative as a basis for peace between Israel and the entire Arab world following an Israeli withdrawal from the Palestinian territories, and focused on the need to find a creative solution for the refugee problem based on UN Resolution 194,[1] stressing that otherwise it would not be possible to end the conflict. ‘Abbas also presented Trump with maps showing the history of Palestine from 1937, in order to demonstrate the steady contraction of the territories intended for the Palestinians and the vital need to halt construction in the settlements.

The following are excerpts from the article:[2]

“This wasn’t President ‘Abbas’s first visit to the White House, but it was different in its details from all the previous visits. After Donald Trump won the U.S. presidential election, Arab officials and analysts hurried to say that the Palestinians had become “irrelevant”, but within 100 days [of the election], the relations and the chemistry between the Palestinian and U.S. presidents developed to a point that [proved them to be] shamefully wrong.

“President Trump and his team were unfamiliar to the Palestinians, since, unlike previous [U.S.] presidents, such as George Bush Jr. and Barack Obama, they did not emerge from the American [political] establishment. In contrast to some leaders of Palestinian factions who criticized the new U.S. president based on Israeli statements, President ‘Abbas opted for a quiet diplomacy whose results became evident later, during his visit to the White House, which he has characterized as successful.

“After talking a great deal about the cold shoulder turned to ‘Abbas by the new inhabitant of the White House, and the implications [of this attitude], analysts found themselves faced with a sight that even many Palestinian officials had not imagined they would see. [Thanks to preparatory] measures and arrangements that preceded the meeting at the White House, a new bond was formed that is bound to become [even] clearer during Trump’s visit to Bethlehem on May 23, 2017.

“President ‘Abbas said: “The visit was preceded by several [preparatory measures]. About six weeks ago, after Trump entered the White House, the head of the Palestinian intelligence service, Maj. Gen. Majid Faraj, was invited to Washington for a meeting with his American counterpart, and he indeed came there and met with many U.S. political and military officials. [Gen. Faraj] returned with a lot of information, indicating that a new era had dawned in Washington and that we could expect new developments because there was a new [president] in that country who might present fresh ideas regarding the Palestinian issue. We were very pleased with this [preliminary] meeting.

“In a closed meeting with Arab ambassadors to Washington, [‘Abbas] said: “Immediately after that, shortly after the appointment of Mike Pompeo as Director of the CIA [on January 23, 2017], we were told he would come for a visit [in the PA] and he indeed came to Ramallah and we held lengthy meetings with him. He is an experienced man, for he was a member of Congress, so our cause was not unfamiliar to him, although we may have had to fill him in on some of the details. At the end of the meeting, he said: ‘I will now go [straight] to the airport and [fly to] Washington, for I want to present the minutes of this meeting to President Trump, who has a meeting scheduled tonight with Binyamin Netanyahu.’

“The CIA director was the first [U.S. official] to meet with the [Palestinian] president… and even though certain elements tried to claim that the contacts between the Palestinians and Americans were [confined to] the security level, these contacts continued on the diplomatic level [as well].

“President [‘Abbas] said: ‘The second step came one week later, when President Trump called me. This was the first time he called [me. He] greeted me and then invited me to the White House, saying, ‘I’ve heard all sorts of things about you, but I want to hear more from you, because I want to find a solution to the [Palestinian-Israeli] conflict. He repeated his invitation several times, and then told me that he had a great deal of confidence in several of his aides, including Jason Greenblatt,[3] and that he would soon send [Greenblatt] to us so we could talk with him.’

“The [next] step was [indeed] a meeting between United States Special Representative for International Negotiations Jason Greenblatt and President ‘Abbas in Ramallah. President ‘Abbas said: ‘Greenblatt arrived and I had a lengthy and comprehensive meeting with him, because I assumed he needed to learn the details. I [recounted all the developments] from Oslo until today, step by step, and described the entire Palestinian issue in full. Then I tried to answer all the questions I figured he might have, and when I was done he indeed said, “I have nothing left to ask, this was a useful meeting.”‘

“The [next] step was a meeting between Greenblatt and President [‘Abbas] on the Jordanian shore of the Dead Sea, at the periphery of the Arab League summit. President ‘Abbas said: ‘Greenblatt returned to Washington and then came back to [visit] us during the Arab League summit in Jordan, where he met with many Arab foreign ministers.’

“Concurrently, preparations for the [Trump-‘Abbas] summit were also made during the visit to Washington of a [Palestinian] delegation that included Dr. Saeb Erekat, the head of the Palestinian intelligence service and PLO Executive Committee secretary-general Maj. Gen. Majid Faraj, and Dr. Muhammad Mustafa, President [‘Abbas’s] economic advisor. Preparations were also made at the level of the leaders of Palestine, Jordan and Egypt, all three of whom had been invited to the White House. President ‘Abbas said: “We had been invited [to Washington] and we prepared for the visit, but [even] before this, at the Arab [League] summit which was [dedicated to the issue of] Palestine, Jordan’s King ‘Abdallah II initiated a three-way meeting with Egyptian President ‘Abd Al-Fattah Al-Sisi and myself so we would go to Washington with a single unified message. King [‘Abdallah] and President [Al-Sisi] had been invited [to Washington], but the date of my own visit had not yet been set. So the three of us met and discussed in detail the message we would present to Washington.’ He added: ‘King ‘Abdallah and President Al-Sisi [later] informed us about what had transpired [during their meetings] in Washington. They conveyed the same message, and that helped us a lot. Then it was decided that I would come here, to Washington, and I arrived, held some side meetings and then we went to the White House.'”

The Meeting With Jared Kushner

“Upon President ‘Abbas’s arrival in Washington, more meetings were held between the Palestinians and Americans. Far from the media, a first meeting took place between President ‘Abbas and Trump’s senior advisor and son-in-law, Jared Kushner. Kushner left a very positive impression on ‘Abbas, [who called him] ‘a polite man who wanted to gain a good understanding of the situation [and who] asked very polite questions about all the topics he wished to understand.’ This meeting was held on the eve of the president’s arrival at the White House.

“Up until the meeting at the White House, Palestinian officials differed in their assessments. Some expected a smooth and easy meeting while others were afraid of last-minute surprises.”

The Meeting With Trump

“The meeting went as Palestinian officials hoped it would, and was very positive, as was clearly evident from President [‘Abbas’s] reception at the White House.

“President [‘Abbas] naturally slept that night, after the long flight and because of the time-difference. The next morning he was cheerful as he prepared for his first visit to the White House during the Trump presidency. When he arrived, Trump met him at the door and accompanied him as he went to sign the guestbook. Then the two went into the Oval Office, and there, in the presence of the media, Trump greeted President ‘Abbas and shook his hand multiple times. Then they visited President Roosevelt’s historic office at the White House, where each delivered a statement, before shaking hands once again and turning to the Cabinet Room, where the U.S. cabinet holds its meetings.

“In the Cabinet Room, U.S. State Secretary Rex Tillerson sat to the left of the U.S. President and Vice President Mike Pence sat to his right. Also present at the meeting were U.S. National Security Advisor Gen. McMaster as well as Kushner, Greenblatt, the White House Chief of Staff, and U.S. Consul General [in Jerusalem] Donald Blome. Apart from ‘Abbas, the Palestinians present included Dr. Saeb Erekat, Gen. Majid Faraj, Dr. [Muhammad] Mustafa, Deputy Prime Minister Ziad Abu ‘Amr, ‘Abbas’s advisors Nabil Abu Rudeineh and Majdi Al-Khalidi, and Palestinian ambassador to Washington Husam Zomlot.”

‘Abbas: This Is What Happened At The White House

“As for the details of the visit, ‘Abbas said: ‘After signing the guestbook and delivering our statements to the press, [Trump and I] sat down together and I made every effort to present our wishes and our ideas [to him]. I told him explicitly: We, the united Arab nation, all oppose terror and combat terror, of every type and from every source. [Terror] is alien to us as a nation, alien to our culture, and that is why we stand up against it. Secondly, as for the political situation, we Palestinians believe in the solution of two states, namely Israel, which already exists, and a Palestinian state that we want to establish in the 1967 borders, whose capital is East Jerusalem. I told [Trump], if someone gets it into his head to speak about a one-state [solution, you should know that] we opt for the two-state [solution]. But if someone [nevertheless] mentions the one-state [solution, you should know that] there are two options. [The first option] is a racist discriminatory state, in which there are two regimes, [one for Palestinians and another for Jews], as is the case today in the Palestinian territories. Obviously, we will never agree to this and nobody in the world will agree to it. [The second option] is a binational state. I believe that they [the Israelis] reject this [option] out of hand, and I have [in fact] heard this from [them] on more than one occasion. So we are left with the solution of two states: a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders, and Israel. We want a state in those borders, with East Jerusalem as its capital’…

“‘Abbas then turned to explain the Arab peace initiative, using a one-page document prepared by the Palestinian president’s office, which included the details of the plan and the flags of the Arab countries that had approved it. President [‘Abbas] said: ‘I told Trump: We have the Arab initiative that was adopted at the 2002 Arab [League] summit in Beirut, which, in my opinion, is the most valuable initiative ever achieved for resolving the Palestinian problem. [The plan] is neither long nor complicated. It includes two main clauses.’ President [‘Abbas] explained to President [Trump] that the first clause says that if Israel withdraws from the Palestinian and Arab territories, all the Arab countries will be willing to form [diplomatic] ties with it, and that this initiative has been approved by more than one Arab capital and at many Arab and Muslim summits, for example in Istanbul, Iran and Pakistan…’ President ‘Abbas explained to the U.S. President that the flags on the document represented the countries that have approved the Arab peace initiative and have expressed willingness to recognize Israel if the latter withdraws from the occupied Arab and Palestinian territories.

“[‘Abbas also] explained to Trump that the [Arab] initiative proposed a just and agreed-upon solution to the refugee problem based on [UN Resolution] 194. The problem needs to be solved in a creative way based on the UN resolutions, [he said]. It must be resolved in order to resolve the conflict… We insist on this solution [to the refugee problem] because do not want only a peace treaty between ourselves and Israel, we want to end the conflict between ourselves and the Israelis. If the refugee problem remains unresolved, the conflict will remain as well.’

Historical Map Of Palestine

“President ‘Abbas then presented the U.S. President with a map showing Palestine from 1937 until today, to demonstrate how the Israeli occupation is eating away at the Palestinian territories. He said: ‘The maps explain the Palestinian problem… starting with the map of historical Palestine, through the first partition plan of 1937, the second [partition plan] of 1947, and then 1948. What [territory] is left to us? In the end [we have only] what the Israelis have left the Palestinians [after] building their settlements in the Palestinian territories.’ ‘Abbas said, ‘If construction in the settlements continues… how will we be able to establish a Palestinian state? That is why we oppose the settlements and regard them as illegitimate. This should be the basis for handling them at the [negotiation] table.’

“This explanation took up about 15-20 minutes of the face-to-face meeting between the two presidents. Then the two went to the Cabinet Room, where the American and Palestinian teams joined them. In the Cabinet Room, the Palestinian officials spoke, each about his area [of expertise], and explained the Palestinian position on each issue.

“President ‘Abbas said: ‘To sum up, we felt that the man [Trump] was serious and is eager to find a solution soon. Indeed, we hope that this is the case. I told him that we are prepared to send a delegation to the U.S. immediately in order to start negotiations, as they see fit.’ He added: These are our basic [principles], these are our positions, and we are demanding no more than the [implementation of the] U.N. resolutions. I felt that President Trump is very willing to proceed, and I am very pleased about that. I am not saying that he agreed with me, but at least he listened to me with great interest and in a positive manner. I hope he was convinced [by me], but this takes time, and I think that he should know further details.’

Outstanding Reception

“The observers were unanimous that President ‘Abbas received an unusually [warm] welcome in the White House. The Palestinian flag was prominently displayed in many places, especially in the historic Roosevelt Room, where it was stood behind the U.S. President as he gave his address. Several hours after the meeting, dozens of top U.S. officials and intellectuals in Washington, including the President’s harshest critics and representatives of organizations such as AIPAC, hurried to a large hall in the Mandarin Hotel in order to congratulate President ‘Abbas on the successful meeting. Many made sure to have their photo taken with him. The next day, there was another American surprise, when the White House announced that President Trump had accepted the invitation to visit the Palestinian territories. President ‘Abbas said that he was pleased about this visit and hoped that it would lead to something new.”

_______________________

[1] It should be noted that the Palestinians and the Arab states, unlike Israel, hold that this resolution recognizes the refugees’ right to return to their homes and also to receive compensation. It should be noted that the issue of the refugees’ return or compensation was not mentioned in the original Saudi peace initiative, but was added later under pressure from Syria and Lebanon in what became the “Arab peace initiative.” See “The Warped Saudi Initiative” by Itamar Rabinovich, Haaretz (Israel), April 4, 2002. For the article in English, see Haaretz.com, April 7, 2002.

[2] Al-Ayyam (PA), May 7, 2017.

[3] A Jewish-American lawyer who served as executive vice president and chief legal officer to Donald Trump and the Trump Organization, and as advisor on Israel during his presidential campaign. In January 2017 Trump appointed him United States Special Representative for International Negotiations.

‘Israel is not the United Nations’ punching bag anymore’ –

May 8, 2017

Source: ‘Israel is not the United Nations’ punching bag anymore’ – Israel News – Jerusalem Post

ByYonah Jeremy Bob
May 7, 2017 19:15
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked: Trump is a partner in fighting anti-Israel UN Resolutions.
JPost Annual Conference 2017

Still fuming about UN Resolution 2334, which passed in December just before Donald Trump became US president, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked told attendees at The Jerusalem Post Annual Conference in New York on Sunday that Israel has a partner in the Trump administration in fighting all illegal UN resolutions.

“Israel is not the United Nations’ punching bag anymore,” she said, calling Resolution 2334, which declared the settlements, including the “settlement blocs” illegal, “nothing more than antisemitism and delegitimization of Israel.”
“We reject UN Resolution 2334. We reject it on legal, moral and ethical grounds!” Shaked said, detailing her belief that the situation at the UN has changed.

“We can see the change with Nikki Haley as the US ambassador to the United Nations… Israelis finally feel that we have someone leading the fight for justice and morality in a place without it. We feel like our voice will finally be heard in the halls of the General Assembly.

She has given us hope, and we look forward to seeing her continue on the path she started.”

Transitioning to the arena of peace negotiations, Shaked said: “I was personally encouraged that the Trump administration did not automatically adopt the two-state solution narrative from previous administrations,” noting that it is open to creative approaches.

“They did something unique: They listened to some of the things we have been saying for years and said we need to work it out in our own way.”

Asserting that her party, Bayit Yehudi has, the answer, Shaked advocated immediate annexation of Area C and granting citizenship to the residents there.

“We want to establish a confederation in areas A and B, possibly with Jordan, a country that coincidentally has a population that is 70% Palestinian,” she said.

Shaked said she believes the administration “will continue to positively surprise us,” specifically regarding moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

“President Trump doesn’t need to do anything,” she said. “On June 1, if he doesn’t sign a waiver, the embassy will need to move to Jerusalem according to the American law.”

Shaked also expressed hope that Trump will recognize Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights and alluded to what she called a worldwide legal campaign against Israel.

“The new battlefield is also in the courts,” she said, noting that Israel has successfully fought back against lawsuits against Israelis in foreign courts and efforts to use “universal jurisdiction in a very cynical and political way against our leadership.

“These frivolous complaints have all been thrown out… The United Kingdom, Spain and Belgium have amended their domestic laws to prevent this kind of legal abuse,” she said.

Shaked warned: “Make no mistake, the effort by our enemies is not about reaching peace with the Palestinians.

This effort is about destroying the State of Israel as a Jewish State. It’s that simple.”

The justice minister told attendees she would meet with US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions later in the week and expressed hope that he would “continue the fight he began in the Senate against the nuclear-arms deal with Iran, [because] it remains an existential threat to the State of Israel and must be stopped.”

Finally, Shaked listed a series of accomplishments that might surprise many who paint her in purely right-wing political terms.

“I studied the issues and found out that there was no courthouse in an Arab town or village,” she said. “This is unacceptable. I am proud to say we are going to build the first official, permanent courthouse in an Arab town, in Taiba.

“I also made some waves recently by appointing the first ever, female Arab judge for the Israeli Shari’a court system.”

 

Why didn’t Israel strike in Iran? Ehud Barak explains

May 8, 2017

Source: Ynetnews News – Why didn’t Israel strike in Iran? Ehud Barak explains

In a special interview, the former defense minister reveals what happened to his and Prime Minister Netanyahu’s plan for a military operation against Iran’s nuclear program and responds to criticism over the billions invested in preparation for the attack. ‘We must remember,’ he says, ‘that the Iranian project has not disappeared—it has only been postponed.’
Only three living Israelis have led the country from the prime minister’s chair. Only three have faced this crucible, with the responsibility, the power, the experience and the understanding of the world that the position provides.
Benjamin Netanyahu doesn’t respond to questions; this term, he speaks to the nation one-sidedly through Facebook posts. Ehud Olmert is unable to respond to questions for known reasons. The only one who can is Ehud Barak. 

I met Barak last week for a conversation that lasted several hours. Do you believe, I asked, that the conflict between America and North Korea could develop into a war?

Ehud Barak about town in January, now a private citizen (Photo: Moti Lavton)

Ehud Barak about town in January, now a private citizen (Photo: Moti Lavton)

 

“Once,” Barak said, “during a meeting with a senior Chinese government official, I asked him what he thought about North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. ‘What do you want from us?’ the Chinese man replied. ‘He was educated with you, in the West (which is true—Kim attended a boarding school in Switzerland for children from rich families).’

 

“What’s unique about this conflict is that it has more than one unpredictable player. Kim Jong-un is faced by an American president whose next move is very difficult to predict. There is a certain advantage in uncertainty, but there are risks as well.

 

“A few positive things have happened in the first 100 days of the Trump administration. He quickly broke off ties with Gen. Michael Flynn and replaced him, as national security advisor, with Gen. McMaster, who is indisputably a good man.

 

“Trump reduced the influence of the radical Steve Bannon and normalized the National Security Council system. This proves an ability to learn. At the same time, he is rewriting the rules under which the US president operates. 

“Take his decision to strike Syria, for example. The significance of the operation is nowhere close to Netanyahu’s exaggerated praise. Trump chose the narrowest hit in the book. Nevertheless, he managed to surprise.

 

“The United States is still the strongest country in the world. The American defense budget is larger than the sum of the defense budgets of China, Russia, Germany, Japan, France and other countries. When the US president says, ‘Enough, we’re done being latched onto,’ it means something.”

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was educated in the West. (Photo: Reuters) (Photo: Reuters)

North Korean leader Kim Jong-un was educated in the West. (Photo: Reuters)

 

Trump, I said, clashed in this short period of time with Russia, with China, with North Korea and with Iran. 

“Russia is a different story,” he said. “In spite of all the contradictions, at the end of the day (Russian President) Putin leads a European state, a Christian state. Trump is figuring him out.

 

“The places where there is a risk of a mishap are Iran, North Korea, and—in a different manner—China. There are considerations of prestige, and it’s difficult to understand the rival before it’s too late. The crisis could erupt over an American ship sailing near one of the islands in the South China Sea or over an aircraft sortie. 

The Chinese are saying, ‘It’s time for the Americans to understand that we are equal. Just like the Americans won’t let our planes approach the coast of San Francisco, we won’t have their planes approach our coasts. Our skies are like their skies.’ 

“In the end, Trump gathered around himself a group of serious people. Nevertheless, they aren’t immune to mistakes. Groupthink, being dragged by the leader, reading risks incorrectly—all that could happen, and such things have happened.”

 

More hawkish than Netanyahu on Iran

I would like to go back to your years as defense minister in the Netanyahu government, I said. You and Netanyahu pushed for an Israeli military operation against Iran. What did you really want? Three possibilities come to mind: First, you wanted a war; second, you thought that the Israeli threat would make the Americans aggravate the sanctions; three, you thought that a limited Israeli military operation would force the Americans to enter an extensive war with Iran.

 

US President Donald Trump—rewriting the rules (Photo: Reuters)

US President Donald Trump—rewriting the rules (Photo: Reuters)

 

“The intention,” Barak replied, “was both to make the Americans increase sanctions and to carry out the operation. I was more of a hawk than Netanyahu. 

“We assumed that the Americans knew everything—both about the operation and about the opposition to the operation on the part of Chief of Staff (Gabi) Ashkenazi, Mossad chief (Meir) Dagan, Military Intelligence Director (Amos) Yadlin and Shin Bet chief (Avi) Diskin. We knew that there were people here who were speaking to them on a daily basis.

 

“I spoke with President (George W.) Bush and, at a later stage, with President Obama. I made it clear to them that when it came to Israel’s responsibility for its security, we would be the ones to make the decisions, not them. The two presidents didn’t like our plans, but they respected our right to decide.

 

“At some point, the secretary of defense asked me how much warning we would give the Americans. I said to him, ‘We have to surprise. We won’t be able to give you more than a few hours. Our announcement will be worded in a way that won’t put a single American soldier at risk.’ 

“Despite their objection to the move, they made it clear that even if we did attack, they would keep all their commitments to Israel.”

 

The opponents, I said, claimed that you invested NIS 11 billion in preparations that went down the drain. “The investment was completely justified,” Barak said. “We built a web of abilities. We must also remember that the Iranian project has not disappeared. It has only been postponed by 10 years.”

 

‘Bibi doesn’t like making decisions, I do’

Meir Dagan, I said, argued that a military operation would be ineffective. In fact, it would make it easier for Iran to advance its nuclear program. He described your discussions as a party of whiskey and cigars.

 

“Dagan, “Barak said, “described us as a trigger-happy group. That wasn’t true. The operation was intended as a last resort. Iran didn’t choose a nuclear program like Libya’s or South Africa’s, which was basically meant for deterrence purposes. It chose North Korea’s way. If Iran obtains a nuclear weapon, it will fundamentally change the situation in the region and could turn into an existential problem for Israel.

 

“Opponents said it would take the Iranians only few years to restore the project. That’s inaccurate. Before we bombed the nuclear reactor in Baghdad, we were unable to accurately estimate how long it would take the Iraqis to rebuild it. The other side is usually afraid to go back and build what has been destroyed. Other things happen.”

 

That likely also applies to the reactor which Israel attacked in Syria (according to foreign sources).

 

“In Israel,” Barack explained, “an operation is approved only if the three corners of the triangle exist—an operational ability, international legitimacy and a need to operate now because it will be impossible to operate later.

 

Ehud Barak at his Tel Aviv home last week: ‘Who does the government think will replace the PA? Beitar? Bnei Akiva? No, Hamas.’ (Photo: Shaul Golan)

Ehud Barak at his Tel Aviv home last week: ‘Who does the government think will replace the PA? Beitar? Bnei Akiva? No, Hamas.’ (Photo: Shaul Golan)

 

“The nuclear project is not like a car that can be attacked so long as it’s exposed on the road. It’s more like a train that is slowly entering a tunnel: Each car that enters the tunnel reduces the operation’s effectiveness. That’s the meaning of the immunity zone (a term coined by Barak that refers to the critical point in time after which Iran’s nuclear program will no longer be vulnerable to a military strike).

 

“The chief of staff’s objection to the operation doesn’t necessarily prevent it—the decision is in the political ranks’ hands. But when the operation was raised for discussion in 2010, Ashkenazi said: ‘We have no operational ability.’

 

“When a chief of staff says there’s no operational ability, that’s it, the approval doesn’t pass the threshold. Unfortunately, those who opposed the plan were backed by the President’s Residence, by Shimon Peres. I failed to convince both him and the other opponents, although I put many hours into it. 

“Obama asked me about the opposition to the operation in Israel. I said to him, ‘Don’t you have these kinds of things in America? When they, the opponents, look up, they see us. When we look up, there’s nobody there. The responsibility is on us.’

 

“In 2011, the chief of staff was (Benny) Gantz. He said, ‘I believe the operation is wrong, but there is an operational ability.’ We convened the narrow forum of eight ministers. We estimated that if the eight-minister forum voted in favor of it, so would the cabinet. We divided the work between us: Bibi said he would handle (Moshe) Ya’alon and (Yuval) Steinitz. ‘It will be okay,’ he told (Avigdor) Lieberman and me. And then Steinitz and Ya’alon spoke against it.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the US Congress, which ‘caused a lot of damage’ (Photo: AFP) (Photo: AFP)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu addressing the US Congress, which ‘caused a lot of damage’ (Photo: AFP)

 

Do you think Bibi changed his mind, I asked.“I’m not sure he made such a big effort to convince,” Barak said. “From year to year, my doubts concerning his determination to act increased. I suggested that he advance the Palestinian issue, if not in order to reach an agreement, then at least in a bid to secure broad international support for an attack on Iran. I said to him, ‘It’s like in chess: You sacrifice a pawn to get the queen.’ He may have been scared by the need to do something on the Palestinian issue.”

 

Or he may have been deterred by the magnitude of the decision, I said. He was afraid to take responsibility for a decision that all the security establishment heads were against.

 

“It’s possible,” Barak said. “Bibi doesn’t like making decisions. I do.

 

“In 2012, Netanyahu toyed with all kinds of ideas. I was opposed. I reiterated my stance: We would not put a single American soldier at risk.”

 

A different kind of trust

One of Barak’s less successful political adventures was splitting the Labor Party in 2011 and creating a faction called Independence, which didn’t last very long but helped Netanyahu remain in office.

 

Why, I asked.

 

“Only because of Iran,” he said. “I saw how difficult it was to pass the decision with me inside (the government), and I knew it would be even more difficult if I were outside. When I failed to convince my friends at the Labor Party, I split. There are things that are more important than a party.”

 

What did you think, I asked, about Netanyahu’s address to the two Houses of Congress against the agreement?

 

“A day after the Americans signed the agreement with Iran, Netanyahu summoned me for a consultation. I was outside of politics.

 

‘The deal is bad,’ I told him. ‘We don’t need to hide our opinion, but moving the battle to Congress is inadvisable. The chance of succeeding is slim. Speaking at AIPAC and speaking at the Congress committees, as is customary, will suffice.’ 

“But the actual appearance there was important to him. He couldn’t resist the temptation. If he quarrels in public with the president, he’s as big as the president. Apart from that, he wanted to serve the right wing of the Republican Party. It ended in a lot of damage.”

 

Why damage, I asked.

 

“Because he missed the opportunity we had immediately after the agreement was signed,” he replied. “At that time, we could have received $45 billion in aid for 10 years, not 38 billion; we could have expanded the intelligence cooperation and reached agreements on the conditions for aggravating the sanctions; we could have received measures that would have allowed us to take military action against the nuclear program under the new conditions. We could have reached a completely different kind of trust.”

Former IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi received support from the President’s Residence against military operations

Former IDF chief Gabi Ashkenazi received support from the President’s Residence against military operations

 

Why do you think Obama accepted such an agreement, I asked. 

“Because Obama isn’t naïve,” he said. “He realized that Iran would live up to the agreement at first, when it would be worthwhile, but would return to the nuclear project later on. The solution was to provide Israel with the means that would allow it to act. That was thwarted by Netanyahu in his Congress address.” 

‘A troubled government’

In one of his meetings with Russian President Vladimir Putin, Barak spoke highly of the immigration to Israel from the former Soviet Union and its great contribution to Israel’s education, economy, science and art. “Why don’t you give us a million more immigrants?” Barak suggested at the time.

 

“I’m not sure we have a million more Jews in Russia,” Putin said. 

“I’m sure there are a million Russians who are willing to come to Israel,” Barak replied. “If needed, we’ll get them Jewish babushkas, and they’ll become Jewish.” 

On the eve of Memorial Day and Independence Day, Barak insisted on seeing the half-full glass. The historian, diplomat and politician Dr. Shlomo Ben-Ami once said that the Zionist project was the most successful national project of the 20th century, and Barak completely agrees.

 

“We started from nothing,” he said. “Despite seven wars, two intifadas and countless military operations, our population has multiplied by 12, the gross national product has multiplied by almost 70, the shekel is one of the strongest currencies in the world, and the number of NASDAQ-listed Israeli companies is higher than any other country outside of North America. The Middle East is a difficult setting. We’re really a villa in the jungle, and nonetheless, we are the strongest country in the Middle East.”

 

If things are so good, I asked, why do you say that things are so bad?

 

“Because we have a government which is leading Israel to a slippery slope. The threat is to the actual Zionist project.”

 

Aren’t you sowing panic like Netanyahu, I asked.

 

“Absolutely not,” he said. “The current government’s agenda is inevitably leading to one state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. If democracy is preserved, there will be a state here with an Arab majority and a civil war; if democracy breaks, it will be an apartheid state at a risk of collapsing. This is the existential threat.”

 

What happened to the Iranian nuclear program, I asked. 

“The threat has been postponed by 10 years,” he said, “and there are many other options of dealing with it.” 

Barak spoke about Rabbi Zvi Yehuda Kook, the father of settler messianism, who he said was peeking from behind Netanyahu’s shoulder. “The one-state logic is inevitably leading the Right to weaken the legal system, civil society and the free media. The Right has to undermine the IDF’s world of values.

 

“Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said that left-wing organizations are anti-Israel traitors. They are neither traitors nor anti-Israel.: They’re anti Israel’s governments—all of Israel’s governments.

 

“Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely said that the left-wing organizations are anti-Israel traitors. They are neither traitors nor anti-Israel—they are anti Israel’s governments, all of Israel’s governments. It wasn’t Menachem Begin who said, ‘Without the High Court, without B’Tselem’—it was Yitzhak Rabin. We didn’t like them, but we knew they were not violating the law and we respected it. Netanyahu is the one who is building them now. 

“The person who tried to terrorize the military judges in the Elor Azaria affair is now the defense minister. He may be speaking differently, but he’s just playing with words. This isn’t a levelheaded government; it’s a troubled government.”

 

Many Israelis are fleeing to Berlin. (Photo: AFP)

Many Israelis are fleeing to Berlin. (Photo: AFP)

 

Do you have anything to say to the young Israelis, mostly left-wing voters, who are leaving for Berlin, I asked. Can you understand them? Can you imagine yourself at their age, thinking and talking like them?

 

“I don’t like this phenomenon,” he replied, “but I can understand where it’s coming from. These young people were raised on liberal values, focusing on the individual. You land in Berlin, New York or London and easily find your place. Right-wing, traditional societies put a greater emphasis on the values of the community—being loyal to the group, accepting the authority of its leaders, and knowing that there are things which are sacred. I don’t underestimate these values—they give meaning to life, a distinction between them and others. They are a very important political and social tool.

 

“Over the past 30 years, the balance between these two groups of values has been violated. The Left has adopted the values of the individual and abandoned the values of the community. It has given up David Ben-Gurion’s ambition to create an exemplary society.”

 

Barak believes that the other Left, which made security its priority, can be revived. ““The government talks about security but harms security when it settles throughout the entire territory. It is trying to undermine the Palestinian Authority. Who does it think will replace the PA? Beitar? Bnei Akiva? No, it will be replaced by Hamas. The Right finds Hamas more convenient. Hamas will come and will bring down rockets on Kfar Saba.”

 

No interest in returning to politics—for now

Barak turned 75 in February. I asked him if he would return to politics.

 

“I’m receiving many appeals,” he said. “At this stage, I have no interest. I think that part of people’s willingness to listen to me has to do with the fact that I don’t want anything. If I were perceived as someone who wishes to achieve something, it would have come back to haunt me.”

 

You do realize that your response opens a tiny window, I said. 

“I can’t ignore the fact that circumstances may be created,” he said. “This isn’t something I’m hoping for. But this isn’t about me, it’s about Netanyahu.”

New ISIS mobile tactics against US in Syria, Iraq

May 8, 2017

New ISIS mobile tactics against US in Syria, Iraq, DEBKAfile, May 8, 2017

The effect of this tactic has been disastrous. Capable of penetrating as far as 10 km inside Iraqi lines, the deadly vehicles and suiciders have managed to slow the US-Iraqi advance and, in some places, brought it to a halt. The method has won the title of “crust mobile defense” from American commanders in Syria and Iraq

In short, the Mosul offensive, estimated to last a couple of months, is going into its eighth month with no end in sight.

A live example of this method was seen in Iraq Sunday, May 7, when at least five ISIS suicide bombers detonated their explosives vests against Kurdish Peshmerga forces outside the K1 base near the northern oil city of Kirkuk where US instructors are deployed. At least two Kurdish servicemen were killed.

****************************

It is important to get the spate of reported successes by US-backed forces fighting the Islamic State in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan in proper proportion – in particular, the impression that ISIS is falling back from its strongholds in Mosul and Raqqa and that its certain defeat is just around the corner.

On Monday, May 8, it was disclosed that Sheikh Abdul Hasib, Islamic State commander in the Afghan province of Khorasan was killed in a raid on April 27 by US and Afghan special operations forces, in which two US Army Rangers lost their lives.

All these reports are accurate as far as they go, but they don’t take into account the upbeat sense prevailing in the ISIS command. The Islamic organization’s strategists, former officers of Iraq’s Saddam Hussein regime and Baath party, are confident they have found a convincing tactical answer to the American push for crushing them in Mosul. They don’t believe they are close to defeat or that Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi’s caliphate is anywhere near collapse.

DEBKAfile’s intelligence and counterterrorism sources offer six reasons for the jihadists’ confidence, which the Mosul battle has if anything solidified:

1.  The numbers of ISIS fighters still fighting in the Old City of Mosul is seriously underestimated as 300-400 by American and Iraqi military sources. The true figure is ten times larger – 3,000-4,000.

2.   The American and the Iraqi commands have not worked out how to counter the ISIS forces’ device of connecting tunnels running under buildings, which are accessed through holes blown through the walls of attached buildings. The jihadists can therefore move around between battles unobserved.

3.  The only force able to combat ISIS tactics is the Iraqi Gold Division, the one elite force available to the US-Iraqi command. It is not however large enough to fight in more than one arena at once and is, moreover, too slow-moving to overwhelm the swift, invisible ISIS fighters. Most other Iraqi army units have been withdrawn from the Mosul front after being decimated.

4.  ISIS has given up the strategy of defending large urban areas, pursued early in its campaign of conquest in such places as Ramadi, Tikrit and Fallujah – and the start of its defense of Mosul. Instead, their commanders have split them up into small detachments of no more than 10-15 fighters each for commando and suicide raids against their adversaries. These detachments are supported by a large group well behind the front lines which is running assembly lines of booby-trapped cars for delivery to the commando detachments.

Each is provided with more than a dozen explosive cars for release against Iraqi and US troops for maximum losses, as well plenty of exposive vests for multiple suicide attacks.

5. The effect of this tactic has been disastrous. Capable of penetrating as far as 10 km inside Iraqi lines, the deadly vehicles and suiciders have managed to slow the US-Iraqi advance and, in some places, brought it to a halt. The method has won the title of “crust mobile defense” from American commanders in Syria and Iraq

In short, the Mosul offensive, estimated to last a couple of months, is going into its eighth month with no end in sight.

A live example of this method was seen in Iraq Sunday, May 7, when at least five ISIS suicide bombers detonated their explosives vests against Kurdish Peshmerga forces outside the K1 base near the northern oil city of Kirkuk where US instructors are deployed. At least two Kurdish servicemen were killed.

6. High on the success of their tactics in Iraq, ISIS chiefs are duplicating it at the Raqqa battlefield in Syria. They have begun relocating their northern Syrian command centers to the eastern Deir ez-Zor region and Euphrates Valley, which straddles the Syrian-Iraqi border. The terrorist organization has selected the small desert town of Al-Mayadin east of Deir ez-Zor as the next seat for its central command, mainly because of its isolation. Only five roads access the town, most of them not fit for vehicular traffic and so any approaching enemy is quickly exposed.

ISIS is now planning to post its “crust mobile defense system” squads along the 170km of road linking Al Mayadin to Raqqa.